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HomeNewsLocal Students Receive Family Legacy Scholarships

Local Students Receive Family Legacy Scholarships

KAWARTHA LAKES-Three local philanthropists, Chris Handley, Mike Perry, and Phong Tan have established awards and scholarships for local elementary and high school students pursuing post-secondary education. These gifts have been made possible through their Family Legacy Funds, established in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes.

By setting up Family Legacy Funds, commonly known as Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) within the Community Foundation, Handley, Perry, and Tan have not only found a charitable avenue for ongoing giving but have also opened doors for prudent wealth management and tax deductions according to the Community Foundation.

All three of these fundholders offer awards and scholarships to elementary and high school students, with the support of local school principals, teachers and nearby colleges and universities. By investing in the education of deserving students, they are hoping to ignite a ripple effect of positive change that will extend far beyond the individual recipients, creating a stronger and more prosperous community.


For four generations, Handley Lumber and Building Supplies in Fenelon Falls has been serving the needs of contractors, do-it-yourselfers and customers.  Now the current owner, Chris Handley runs this well-known family operation. In honour of his great-grandfather’s legacy and their success in the lumber industry since the 1930s, the Handley Memorial Fund has been set up. Since 2021, this Fund has supported a variety of local endeavours, including The Grove Theatre and scholarship programs to University of Toronto Nursing and Fleming College.

Motivated by family, their very own Lulu Johnston Memorial Scholarship at the U of T Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing honours Chris’ late maternal grandmother Lulu Jesse (Nesbitt) Johnston. This financial scholarship helps students from rural communities seeking a career in nursing. In Chris’ own words, “Lulu Johnston was accepted into a practical nursing program in a hospital in Lindsay, but due to the constraints on the family farm, she was not able to pursue her dream. In her honour, we want to recognize the challenges faced then, in studying nursing in a rural community. This scholarship in her name, will allow others to follow their dream, while supporting health care in rural communities.”

Ray Handley and Chester Godwin 1978

In honour of the life of his grandfather Ray Handley, the Ray Handley Memorial Award at Fleming College offers a $4,000 scholarship, by application to an accomplished graduate from any of the Kawartha Lakes secondary schools, who is currently enrolled in the Business, Forestry or in the Urban Forestry Technician programs.

As an award-winning student at U of T, Chris Handley says he fully understands the benefit of financial support during one’s academic career. Now, he is paying it forward by honouring the legacy of his great-grandfather. Recipients of the scholarship are students who have either had experience in rural health settings or are determined and eager to contribute to rural health care in the future.


Mike Perry, past president of the Community Foundation and now City Councillor, has established the Doug & Mary Perry Higher Education Fund. In memory of his parents, Mike launched this Fund in 2020 intended to provide financial support and encouragement to graduates from the Fenelon Falls Secondary School, interested in a career in teaching.

Doug and Mary Perry

“My mom and dad would be well-pleased continuing to help local students. The Community Foundation is great to work with, offering unique ways for donors to make the difference they want.” Mike Perry

Doug and Mary Perry had strong beliefs in the power of public education to enable and inspire people and build communities according to Mike.  A graduate of Fenelon Falls Secondary School, Mary devoted her career to teaching.

The intent of this scholarship is to empower graduates to aim for post-secondary education in the field of teaching and education. This legacy grows and compounds over time, offering annual awards to young and aspiring teachers and educators in Fenelon Falls. Mike is grateful for his parents who instilled in him the value and joy of education and is happy that they will be remembered for helping students from FFSS continue learning.


Phong Tan, owner-manager of PharmaSave in Fenelon Falls and his family set up the Mai & Chuong Tan Fund, in honour of their parents. As hardworking Canadians, Mai and Chuong Tan valued the importance of perseverance and commitment to family and community. Tan says he is forever grateful to them for inspiring confidence in their children, encouraging the pursuit of excellence, and gently stressing that when things get tough, this is the time to stand up and shine. Most importantly, they demonstrated that the greatest strength is found when we help one another become stronger according to Tan.

‘Resilience, persistence, and a lot of effort are the secret ingredients.” Phong Tan

Chuong and Mai Tan

Educational scholarships have been presented annually since 2021 to graduating students from both Fenelon Falls Secondary School and Langton Public School. Successful candidates must show resilience to consistently excel, in their studies and extracurricular activities and show deserving qualities – passion, confidence, compassion, enthusiasm, leadership, analytical skills and foresight.

With the passing of federal Bill C-18 you will no longer be able to access local news on Facebook or through a Google search once the bill is enacted. That means you won’t be able to find Kawartha 411 News on Facebook or through a Google search. This will devastate local news across the country including here in Kawartha Lakes. Contact your local member of parliament to let them know that local news matters to you and you want them to work with Google and Meta to come to an agreement. 

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